It was a busy week for several Minnesota Golden Gophers non-revenue sports teams. Gopher volleyball kept tearing through the Big Ten, Gopher soccer qualified for the Big Ten Tournament, and Gopher women’s basketball is gearing up to get ready for their season...along with a lot more.
The Gophers remain undefeated in Big Ten play after sweeping Iowa 3-0 on Friday night at the Pav and then getting a huge season sweep of #5 Nebraska by winning 3-1 on Saturday.
Alexis Hart led the way for Minnesota Friday night with 13 kills, and Stephanie Samedy added a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. With the 25-23, 25-18. 25-20 win, the Gophers got their eighth sweep in ten victories in the Big Ten so far this season.
Saturday night was a clash of the Big Ten’s elite as the #3 Gophers hosted the #5 Huskers. The Gophers looked a little sloppy early as Nebraska took the first set 25-19, but Minnesota bounced back and was determined to not let the Huskers get a Saturday sweep of Minnesota. The Gophers won the second and third sets 25-23, and then put their foot on the gas to cruise to a fourth set 25-18 win. Minnesota freshman Adanna Rollins set a new career-high, posting 20 kills and hit .404 and added a double-double with 14 digs. Samedy posted 13 kills and 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the season and second on the weekend.
The Gophers once again cleaned up on the weekly Big Ten honors. Rollins was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week after her standout performance on Saturday. Senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson was named the Co-Big Ten Setter of the Week for the fifth consecutive week.
The Gophers head to Michigan for a pair of road games this weekend. Friday night the Gophers take on the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing at 5PM, and the game will air live on BTN. Saturday the Gophers head south to Ann Arbor and will play the #12 Michigan Wolverines at 6PM. Then, Halloween night the Gophers head to Madison for a huge game against the #7 Wisconsin Badgers.
The Gophers ended the Big Ten regular season last weekend with a split. Thursday the Gophers completed the home portion of the schedule with a 3-1 win over Iowa. The win clinched a spot in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament for the Gophers.
The Gophers got their first goal of the night in the 14th minute when Molly Fiedler cleaned up April Bockin’s corner kick in front of the net.
Bockin would strilke the twine in the 24th minute as she literally was being tackled by the Iowa goalkeeper. It didn’t stop her shot and Minnesota went up 2-0 early.
Iowa would cut the lead back to one in the 33rd minute, and it would go to the half with a 2-1 Gopher lead. Bockin once again would strike in the second half. She took a gorgeous lead pass from Nikki Albrecht and made a move around a defender before ripping a gorgeous curving shot into the upper-right corner of the goal to put Minnesota up 3-1.
Sunday the Gophers finished the regular season at Penn State and fell to the Nittany Lions 2-0. Minnesota finished Big Ten play with a 5-5-1 record and will either finish in 7th or 8th place depending on the result of the Nebraska vs Michigan State game Wednesday evening. If the Huskers win, on Sunday the Gophers will return to Penn State to face the Big Ten regular season champion Nittany Lions in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal. If Michigan State wins the Gophers will host to second place Rutgers instead.
On October 13th the Gopher men took home 18th place at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Meet in Madison. Alec Basten was the best Minnesota individual finisher in 33rd place.
The Gopher women took seventh place in the Pre-Nationals meet. Bethany Hasz finished in fifth place individually with her sister Megan taking 14th place. Minnesota is ranked #21 in the nation heading into this weekend’s action.
Both Gopher teams will be in Lincoln for the Big Ten Championships this Saturday. The women’s race begins at 10:45 while the men start at 11:45. Both will be streamed on BTN+ ($)
The Gophers ended their fall season with their best finish of the year coming in 9th place in the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in Carrollton, Texas this week. Sophomore Angus Flannigan finished in a team high 29th place in the individual competition.
The Gophers are off until the spring season begins in February.
The Gopher women ended their fall season as well coming in 13th plac at the Las Vegas College Showdown this week. Minnesota finished +23 for the tournament. Minnesota’s Grace Kellar, Kate Lillie, and Joanne Free all finished in a tie for 36th place with a +3 for the tournament.
The Gophers are off until the spring season begins in February.
The Gopher men competed in the ITA’s Central Regional in Tulsa last weekend. The Gophers were led by Jackson Allen who lost in the semi-finals to eventual tournament singles runner-up and 39th nationally ranked individual, Majed Kilani of Tulsa. Allen’s run to the semifinals included wins against three Regionally seeded opponents and the No. 16 singles player in the country. The Gophers had one other player advance to the quarterfinals in Stefan Milicevic and another into the round of 16 in Josip Krstanovic. Minnesota will host their Gopher Invitational in two weeks at the Baseline Tennis Center.
The Gopher women’s tennis team competed in their ITA Central Regionals in IOwa City last week. Minnesota was led by the doubles tandom of Tiffany Huber and Caitlyn Merzbacher who would make it to the quarterfinals before getting knocked out by the eventual champions from Oklahoma State. The Gophers next play in two weeks at the Notre Dame Invititational.
Swimming and Diving:
The Gophers had a split decision when they hosted Florida State last Saturday in their first home meet of the season. The Men defeated the Seminoles 181-119 while the women fell 176-124.
Both Gopher teams posted some impressive times as Bowen Becker posted the top 50 free time in the nation so far this season with 19.77 seconds. For the women Mackenzie Padington posted the top time in the nation to date in the 1650 free, touching in 16:33.14.
The Gopher men also had two divers qualify for the NCAA regionals. On the diving boards, senior Alan LeBlang and junior Jeremy Moser finished first and second in the 3 meter with scores of 347.85 and 325.73 respectively, automatically qualifying them for NCAA zones. Moser also qualified for zones in the 1 meter, finishing second with a score of 325.58.
The Gophers are practicing and gearing up to start the season on November 9th when they host New Hampshire at Williams Arena. The U announced Tuesday that that game is officially sold out for the debut of Lindsay Whalen as the Gophers head coach.
The preseason Big Ten awards also were released earlier this week with Minnesota being predicted to finish in third place in the Big Ten behind Maryland and Iowa by the Big Ten media.
Senior Kenisha Bell was a unanimous selection by both the coaches and the media as a Preseason All-Big Ten nominee, while sophomore Destiny Pitts was named Preseason All-Big Ten by the media.
Both players got national recognition as well as Bell was named to the watch list of the Nancy Lieberman Award which is annually given to the nation;s best point guard. Pitts was named to the watch list of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award given to the nation’s best shooting guard.